Down 16 on one deal

How can you make 16 tricks less than you bid for, all on one deal? The answer to this conundrum for the new year starts with a question: after your partner opens a Weak 2D and next player overcalls 3C, what do you bid with the following hand at favourable vulnerability?

S 843
H J9543
D 64
C T97

You and I would pass but at a past bridge holiday, Canberra player Wilf Lorenz ventured 5D… three times! As director, I was called to the table when, over the first 5D, the next player made an insufficient bid of 3S. After Lorenz’s next 5D, came an insufficient bid of 4S. Undeterred, Lorenz bid 5D for the third time and this sealed matters. Here is the full deal:

Dealer West, NS vul.

          S —
          H AK8
          D AT3
          C KQJ8643
WEST                EAST
S QT72              S 843
H Q2                H J9543
D QJ9752            D 64
C 5                 C T97
          S AKJ965
          H T76
          D K8
          C A2

2D   3C    5D   3S!
Pass 3NT   5D   4S!
Pass Pass  5D  All pass

North and South were both in too much of a state of shock to remember even to double. Lorenz’s partner finished six down for 300 points, although it s pointed out that perhaps as Lorenz had bid 5D on three occasions, it should be treated as a 15D bid and scored as another ten light!

Even if this wag’s advice had been followed, and the contract scored as 16 down for 800 points, it would have made little difference to the result, as Lorenz’s teammates had bid to the cold 7NT contract for 2220 points.

Today’s other hand is another where I was called to the table, this time to sit in for a deal for a player who was temporarily called away. I observed Rhonda Goldman picking the missing cards to make overtricks in a contract that could have been beaten.

First, the bidding. East opened 1D and South risked a weak jump overcall. If this gets doubled it will not be a happy spot but Goldman, West, bid 2NT which ended the bidding.

Dealer East, NS vul.

          S 4
          H 6532
          D QJT8
          C QJT4
WEST                EAST
S AJT63             S K
H QJT9              H AK84
D 94                D K732
C A8                C 9653
          S Q98752
          H 7
          D A65
          C K72

The CQ was allowed to win the first trick, after which North led another club honour (although a low club would have worked better).

Declarer cashed the SK and four rounds of hearts, finishing in hand while South discarded a spade and two diamonds. Goldman picked the situation right, ducking a diamond to South’s now-bare ace.

South cashed the CK then was forced to lead a spade, with Goldman inserting the jack (a marked finesse, given South’s spade bid). The last three cards in dummy were the K-7 of diamonds and the C9. North had the Q-J of diamonds and the C10, but when Goldman cashed the SA at trick ten, North was squeezed, forced to throw either the C10 or the diamond guard, and the contract made ten tricks.

What's On...

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